March 20th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

911 calls paint picture of chaos after Florida teen is shot

The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot while walking in his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida, has sparked allegations of racial profiling and calls for the gunman to be charged.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI will investigate the incident.

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who has acknowledged shooting Martin, has not been charged and says it was self-defense.

Martin, 17, was killed while walking to his father's fiancee's house in Sanford from a nearby convenience store.

Zimmerman first called police at 7:09 p.m. ET with concerns about a suspicious teen in the area, according to 911 tapes released by the Seminole County Sheriff's Department.

A 16-year-old girl who was on the phone with Martin most of the day last spoke to him around the time the incident allegedly began and lasted until 7:16 p.m. ET, when the call dropped. Almost immediately, 911 calls began coming in.  Police arrived on the scene at 7:17 p.m.

Several witnesses called 911 at 7:16, 7:17, 7:18 and 7:19 p.m. ET.

Below are the transcripts of the calls as Zimmerman and witnesses describe what they saw and heard that night:

7:09 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Zimmerman: "We had some break-ins in our neighborhood ... and there is a real suspicious guy. ... This guy looks like he's up to no good, he's on drugs or something. It's raining, and he's walking around looking about. "

Dispatcher: "Is this guy white, black, Hispanic?"

Zimmerman: "He looks black."

Dispatcher: "Did you see what he's wearing?"

Zimmerman: "A dark hoodie, grey hoodie, jeans or sweatpants or white shoes. He's walking around staring at the houses. Now he's just staring at me."

Dispatcher: "Location?"

Zimmerman: "He's near the clubhouse right now. Now he's coming towards me. He has his hands in his waistband. He is a black male. Something's wrong with him. Yep. He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. Send officers over here."

Dispatcher: "Let me know if he does anything else."

Zimmerman: "These a**holes, they always get away. When you come in go straight to the left ... when you pass the clubhouse ..."

Dispatcher: "Clubhouse?"

Zimmerman: "Go straight in. Oh, s***. He's running ... down towards the other entrance of neighborhood."

Dispatcher: "He's running? Which way is he running?"

Zimmerman: "Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood."

Dispatcher: "Which entrance is that, that he is running towards?

Zimmerman: "The back entrance."


Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"

Zimmerman: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "OK. We don't need you to do that. What's your name?"

Zimmerman: "George. Zimmerman."

Dispatcher: "Do you want to meet with the officer ..."

Zimmerman: "Tell them to come past the clubhouse and make a left then past mailboxes and they will see my truck ..."

Dispatcher: "What's your apartment number?"

Zimmerman: "It's a home. ... I don't want to give that out. I don't know who this kid is."

Dispatcher: "I will let them know where to meet you."

Zimmerman: "Have them call me, and I will let you know where I'm at."


During part of this time, Martin is on the phone with a 16-year-old girl. Below is an account of the phone call as relayed to In Session's Sunny Hostin by a lawyer for the Martin family:

Martin told the girl someone was following him, and she advised him to run. Martin said he isn't going to run but will walk quickly. Zimmerman caught up with him, and Martin asked Zimmerman why he was following him. Zimmerman then asked Martin his name and why he was there. The girl on the phone says she heard Zimmerman push Martin, and then the call drops. She tried to call Martin back, but he didn't respond.


7:16 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside."

Dispatcher: "Is it a male or female?"

Caller: "It sounds like a male."

Dispatcher: "You don't know why?"

Caller: "I don't know why. I think they are yelling 'help,' but I don't know. Just end someone quick, please."

Dispatcher: "Does he look hurt to you?"

Caller: "I can't see him. I don't want to go out there. I don't know what's going on."

Dispatcher: "So you think he's yelling help?"

Caller: "Yes. There's gunshots."

Dispatcher: "How many?"

Caller: "Just one."


Dispatcher: "Is he right outside?"

Caller: "Yes. Pretty much out the back, yes."

Dispatcher: "Is he in front of it or behind it?"

Caller: "He's behind my house."

Dispatcher: "I don't hear him yelling anymore. Do you hear anything?"

Caller: "No, I don't because I'm hiding upstairs. The gunshot was outside our house. You sent somebody, right?"

Dispatcher: "Do you hear any vehicles leaving or anything else?

Caller: "There's people yelling down there, but I don't want to go down there."

Dispatcher: "People are yelling now?"

Caller: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "We do have officers on the way. Call us back if you see any vehicles leaving or anything."


7:16 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "There's someone screaming outside."

Dispatcher: "Is that at where you are at?"

Caller: "Oh, my God, there is a gunshot, hurry up."


Dispatcher: "Do you see anybody? I don't need you to go outside."

Caller: "There is someone screaming. I just heard a gunshot."

Dispatcher: "Do you see anything? I don't need you to go outside. Do you hear screaming or anything?"

Caller: "Hurry up, they are right outside my house."

Dispatcher: "OK, we [have] police and emergency, OK. Are you in Sanford?"

Caller: "I see police now."

Dispatcher: "You see the officer?"

Caller: "Yeah, but like it's behind the house. There is a dead body there. It's not the front entrance. Oh, my God."

Dispatcher: "Please tell me so I can tell them."

Caller: "If you are looking at my house, it's behind by my back porch."

Dispatcher: "Coming from behind your house?"

Caller: "Yes, the back porch."

Dispatcher: "Stay on the line and update me."

Caller: "I just heard screaming and a gunshot."

Dispatcher: "We have an officer there. Did you hear any more gunshots?"

Caller: "No, I don't hear. Hurry up, hurry up."

Dispatcher: "OK, we have officers out there, OK? If anything changes, give us a call back, but we do have officers there. One officer is there."

Caller: "OK, did he see anything?"

Dispatcher: "I'm not sure, ma'am, I just know he is there, and two other officers are on their way, OK? If anything changes or anything more, call us back. As far as you know, it's coming from behind your house near your back-porch area? When you hear screaming, was it screaming of female or male?"

Caller: "Male."

Dispatcher: "So, when you heard screaming, it was a male screaming?"

Caller: "Yes. And the guy on top had a white t-shirt."

Dispatcher: "What do you mean guy on top? Did you see a fight?"

Caller: "I don't know, I just looked out my window, and there was a guy on top wearing a white t-shirt."

Dispatcher: "A white t-shirt. Did you see what kind of pants? He was on top of what?"

Caller: "I couldn't see the person he was on."

Dispatcher: "But he was on top of a person?"

Caller: "Yes."

Dispatcher: "The guy with the white t-shirt, did he get up and run?"

Caller: "I don't know. Went to the phone to call you

Dispatcher: "White, black or Hispanic?"

Caller: "I couldn't tell, it was completely dark."

Dispatcher: "We have several units en route."

Caller: "Thank you."

7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "I’m looking out my deck, and someone is screaming 'help,' and I don’t know. … I heard a bang. I’m looking out my window, out my backyard, and someone is yelling and screaming 'help.' "

Dispatcher: "You are not the only person calling. We have more than one officer on the scene and another on the way."

Caller: "Oh, my God. I see the person now. I see him walking. There’s a man coming out and people coming out with flashlights. Oh, my God. I don’t know what he did to this person. I can see there is a man walking out with a flashlight right now."

Dispatcher: "Was it a male or female voice?"

Caller: "The man is up right now. Someone is coming over. I’m glad other people called."

Dispatcher: "We should be out there right now."

Caller: "I can open my window and hear it."

Dispatcher: "You can still hear it?"

Caller: "I don’t know what is happening. Someone is laying on the ground."

Dispatcher: "What’s happening? Someone is on the ground? Someone has been shot? Calm down, stay on the line with me. Like I said, we have an officer on the scene, and we have other officers on the line."

Caller: "Oh, my God. They better hurry up. Someone is on the ground. Oh, my God! I see out my back window, sidewalk, grass, something is really bad. There is a man out here with a flashlight."

Dispatcher: "Is this person laying down in the street?"

Caller: "No, it's from my back window."

Dispatcher: "So is the person laying down in the street or in the grass?"

Caller: "The grass. Oh, my God! I think there is another gentleman with a flashlight. ... I think police. Oh, my God! He shot, he shot the person.He says he shot the person. He said he shot the person."

Dispatcher: "Who saying they shot who?"

Caller: "The people out there, a guy is raising his hands up, he's saying he shot a person. I think it's a police officer that's with him right now. arrest - uh - oh, my God, why - why (inaudible)"

Dispatcher: "Our officer is there, he has somebody at gunpoint. They're going to handle the situation from here."

Caller: "Oh! Oh, my God, somebody would be shot!"

Dispatcher: "It's probably going to be best if you stay inside your home for the time being, OK?"

Caller:" I know. I can't believe somebody's killed. He was saying help. Why didn't someone come out and help him?"

Dispatcher: "Listen, we don't know if they been killed ..."

Caller: "Yes, the person is dead, laying on the ground."

Dispatcher: "Just because he's laying on the ground don't mean he's passed. We have an ambulance on the way, and we are probably going to pick him up and take him to the hospital."

Caller: "I didn't see cause it was too dark, and I just heard people screaming 'help me, help me.' And this person shot him! He was like wrestling with him, you know what I mean, on the ground, from what I can see it was very dark. The man didn't try to run away or anything. I don't want to be a witness or anything. I'm scared. Oh, my god, a young boy, I can't imagine, I haven't seen anyone killed. This is a nice neighborhood. Oh, my God, I'm too scared to live here."

Dispatcher: "You don't have to worry right now. We have many officers on the way. Two officers on scene right now, we are on scene, OK?"


7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Police. I just heard a shot behind my house. They are wrestling outside the back of my porch."

Dispatcher: "You just heard one shot go off?""

Caller: "It was either that or a rock at the window or something else. The guy's yelling 'help,' and I'm not going to help."

Dispatcher: "So you can hear someone yelling for help?"

Caller: "I'm pretty sure the guy is dead out here. Holy s***"

Dispatcher: "OK, we have several people calling in. Anything else that you heard?"

Caller: "A guy yelling, 'help.' Oh, my God! There is a guy with a flashlight in the backyard now. I think there's flashlights and a guy. ... I don't know if that's a cop. "

Dispatcher: "OK, we have several calls. Are you sure when you heard voices it was one person yelling, right?"

Caller: "There were two guys in the yard with flashlights, and there is a black guy down like he's been shot, and he's dead."

Dispatcher: "I have several officers going out there."


7:17 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "Medical. I think someone has been shot."

Dispatcher: "Why do you think someone has been shot?"

Caller: "Because they are laying in the backyard and a gunshot and they said 'call 911.' Now there are people coming with flashlights ..."

Dispatcher: "And it's in the backyard?"

Caller: "Yes."

Dispatcher: "And someone is laying in the backyard?"

Caller: "Yes, there are people around him now."

Dispatcher: "You there with kids?"

Caller: "Yes, my daughter. He is a black guy."

Dispatcher: "We have units on the way. What do you mean it's a black guy?"

Caller: "There is a black male standing over him."

Dispatcher: "Can you tell me what he's wearing?"

Caller: "I think someone else called 911."

Dispatcher: "You do see officers out there?"

Caller: "Yeah, I think that's the flashlights that we see."


7:18 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "This is 911, correct? Police or medical. Someone is yelling two doors down from me, screaming, hollering 'help, help, help.' There is an elderly man that lives down there. I don't know. I heard a gunshot. I don't know if it would be ambulance."

Dispatcher: "How many shots did you hear?"

Caller: "One."

Dispatcher: "How long ago?"

Caller: "As soon as I heard that I picked up the phone and called."

Dispatcher: "Before calling 911?"

Caller: "Yes. There is somebody out by my back porch. ... There is someone walking around with a flashlight. The police may already be here. I don't know. Someone is out there with a flashlight, but I did hear something."

Dispatcher: "We do have units there."

Caller: "Oh, my God."

Dispatcher: "And the screaming, was it a male or female you heard?"

Caller: "It sounded to me like a male, and from what I know and I've been here four years, there is an elderly man that lives like four doors down, um, north of me, and I'm inside."

Dispatcher: "Do you think it's coming from your area?"

Caller: "I don't know, ma'am, I'm standing at my back sliding glass door. I don't see anything but a flashlight shining around, but I did hear someone yelling 'help, help, help' or 'oh, my gosh' and something, then moaning and a boom, and I picked up the phone and called."

Dispatcher: "Did you see or hear anything else like a vehicle pulling away?"

Caller: "No, ma'am, because I'm in the back, and in the back there is just a walkway. It could have been someone in the front with a car, I don't know, but I was in the back. It was scary. There is someone still back there with flashlights walking around."

Dispatcher: "There should be someone on the scene ..."


7:19 p.m. ET

Dispatcher: "Do you need police, fire or medical?"

Caller: "My brother said someone got shot behind our house."

Dispatcher: "Is your brother out there right now?"

Caller: "No, he ran in the house."

Dispatcher: "Do you know who was shot?"

Caller: "No idea. ... I'm inside. It's behind our house. ... Yeah."

Dispatcher: "You didn't see or hear anything else? Did you hear the shot?"

Caller: "I heard something, and my brother ran in the house."

Dispatcher: "My brother saw it."

Dispatcher: "What did you see?"

Caller: "I saw a man laying on the ground screaming who needed help. I was going to go over there to try and help him, but my dog got off the leash, and I ran and got him, and I hurried around and down, and the screaming stopped."

Dispatcher: "Did you see the person get shot?"

Caller: "No."

Dispatcher: Did you know the person who got shot, or did you see the person with the gun?"

Caller: "No, I just heard a shot, and the screaming stopped."


Officers arrived on the scene at 7:17 p.m. ET, according to a police report.

Officers Timothy Smith and Ricardo Alayo said they noted a black male in a gray hooded sweatshirt lying face-down in the grass, as well as a white male in the area.

"Zimmerman stated that he had shot the subject and was still armed," Smith wrote in a police report.

Smith said he asked Zimmerman to hand over the weapon, a Kel Tec 9 mm, and handcuffed him.

"While I was in such close contact with Zimmerman, I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and he was covered in grass, as if he was laying on his back on the ground," Smith wrote in the police report. "Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and the back of the head."

The officers also made several attempts to revive Martin.

When police put Zimmerman in the back of the cruiser, he said, "I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me," according to the police report.

soundoff (1,408 Responses)
  1. Educated Black Man

    I am a pre law student so there is much of the law I yet to fully interpret.....but with that being said there is no way in hell that Mr Zimmerman and Attorneys argue a self defense plea. You have to realize that self defense cases can only be argued when the person feels like he his life is i imminent danger...From the initial 911 call made by Mr zimmerman it clearly is not the case.. The only thing he needed to was sit back and allow the police to do their job...You told them the told him what he looks like and you told them what u thought he was doing. That's it there is nothing left to be done..Now I understand your Neighborhood watch...hell I am too but they tell us never to intervene...Just call 911 and wait for authorities. The fact that you took upon yourself to try and prevent a crime that clearly was not even happening and a young kid got killed warrants swift and severe punishment. Now i don't know what are the mitigating factors in Florida that makes this a capital murder case but i do know that its clearly what the public opinion wants in this situation...Now lets just forget about race for a moment....If this was your son or daughter and it can could happen to anyone clearly..the last thing you want to here is a man arguing self defense even after the fact he first was told by dispatches to stay put and don't pursue him...second he clearly was a kid scared for his life so he chased him down and basically shot him in cold blood....I don't understand how any other interpretation can be successfully argued. Any first year law student can play the tapes and from witness testimony convict him easily. Now i don't believe its a hate crime...I find it hard to believe dude was out here hunting black kids who wear goodies in the rain...However I do believe that this is a social issue of fair treatment and lack of procedure following on by the local police department and DA 's office. I mean we detain persons of interest with less yet in this case this man is allowed to roam free and its only perpetuating the stereotype that the justice system always seems to wrong black people. Now do i agree with that assessment all the time no....There is plenty of cases were black people were in the wrong and deserve what ever they received but in this case a Hispanic man gun downs a teen and is still free just does not fit well with me...Finally if this case makes it to court like it should then I only pray that prosecutors don't offer a plea bargain....In this cases if the death penalty is warranted then I truly believe that's the appropriate sentence... .But as a country lets mourn the loss of this young man....honor his life the way it needs to and give him and his family the justice they deserve what

    March 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    Wow. A mexican guy shoots a black guy. This is news? But seriously, with no witnesses to contradict his self-defense claim, this case is closed and the "stand your ground" law needs to be changed. Sounds like the guy was a vigilante and the poor black kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • berman

      Apparently the street where you live is "the wrong place to be " if you're black.

      March 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Well, Alex, maybe if the next time a Mexican shoots a white boy, it might make for more interesting news for you.

      March 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HGM

    This man is crazy and has issues (should be checked) and should not be allowed to carry a gun, he belongs in jail. I am still waiting to see how long is it going to the authorities to put him in jail. Please lets not be like some areas of Peru where people take justice on their own hands because of the lack of authorities involvement.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LC

    This is just horrible. I feel so sorry for Trayvon and his family and friends. The dispatcher told him not to follow him or get out his car. He should be locked up immediately. Why is he still free? America, America still racist and no justice.....

    March 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. berman

    Wow, reading these transcripts you'd think the callers were in mortal danger. I'm glad none of them were ever in a foxhole with me....a couple of them completely panicked.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bubba™

    Freeze boy, let me see your hands

    March 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Bubba, are you attempting to be funny. Would you laugh if your son was murdered?

      March 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Baby Cakes

    Granger get it right not all blacks, whits commit robbery to they are just more prone to get away with it. You are so stupid to think that only blacks commit robbery, your are stupidier than I thought. IDIOT

    March 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bubba™

    Freeze boy! Let me see your hands.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gerry Whited

    The most important info is that the screaming stopped , If it was Zimmerman screaming why didn't he continue to yell for help if he had just shot someone in self defense- the answer is that it wasn't Zimmerman screaming, it was Trayvon Martin.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. moe

    I thought Zimmerman was a Jewish name. Don't really matter. Hope he fries.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HoustonSteve

    Gerry Whited: Or, the screaming for help stopped because once he shot the guy he didn't fear for his life anymore.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • gerry whited

      oh! sure such a concerned citizen but now that someone lays dying he can't yell for help!!!!!?????

      March 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HoustonSteve

    To all you fools who say America is racist with no justice.....check out the ethnicity of the President. Sheesh. Also, turns out that despite his name, Zimmerman was hispanic, not white. This wasn't a racial issues, this is a gun control issues and gun law issue.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      America has both racism and some justice for some people.

      March 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brenda

    I hope you are just as happy when your son or daughter is murdered.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • marie

      Hello Brenda they run they mouth. They can always be on the other side, So tired of ignorant people. Playing the race card no matter what race shot and killed Travon they should be charged regardless.

      March 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HoustonSteve

    Zimmerman is a fool, yes, but the question is not whether he is a fool or not, that is clear, the question is whether he broke the law and is guilty of murder or manslaughter. People cite that the teen was unarmed, but Zimmerman had no way to know that. They cite that he was bigger than the kid but he had his face all smashed in and grass on his back. They cite that he shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun (and I agree) but Florida law allows for the carry of a gun with a concealed carry permit which he had. They cite that the dispatcher told him not to follow, but if you actually listen to the tapes the dispatcher did not ORDER him not to follow, he said "we don't need you to do that". Furthermore, the dispatcher is just a guy answering the phone, he is not a cop. The dispatcher may make a ton of sense, but he has no authority to order zimmerman to stop following the kid. People cite that all the kid had in his bag was skittles, but it was very dark and there is no way for zimmerman to know that. So, it really comes down to physical evidence, ballistic evidence and eyewitness testimony along with what the law allows in terms of someone perceiving that their life is threatened. People cite that he couldn't fear for his life or he would not have chased after the kid, but he could have feared for his life AFTER he foolishly chased the kid and then was on the ground getting his face pummeled in.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HoustonSteve

    And to the foolios saying zimmerman should issue an apology. He should NOT. Not at this time. He may be charged with a crime and I'm sure his lawyer has advised him to say nothing until this all gets sorted out.

    March 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
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